Posted on: August 17, 2008 5:07 pm

Nadal and Dementieva win Gold in Beijing

For the first time since February 2, 2004, Roger Federer is not at the top of the world rankings. Rafael Nadal, who won the French Open, Wimbledon and the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing, is the new leader of the tennis world.

Federer’s streak of 237 weeks as world no.1 is the longest ever. Pete Sampras’ longest such streak was “only” 102 weeks.

Nadal is the 24th player, and third Spaniard after Juan Carlos and Carlos Moya, to reach the no.1 spot in the world rankings.

Russia’s Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva swept the medals at the Olympics in Beijing. With five Russians in the top 10 of the WTA Tour rankings, this sweep is no surprise.

Safina has had the best summer of her life on the tennis court. Don’t be surprised if she reaches the final of the U.S. Open, three weeks from now.

Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka won the doubles gold medal at the Olympics. Federer showed more emotion in one week of doubles play than in years of singles. He also proved that the best singles player in the world can easily dominate the doubles as well. Ask Bob and Mike Bryan what they think of the Swiss master. The American twins earned the bronze in China, Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson the silver.

Venus and Serena Williams claimed the doubles gold medal in Beijing, just as they did in Sydney in 2000. They beat Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual in the final. Yan Zi and Zheng Jie managed to claim the bronze for China.

Fernando Gonzalez lost to Nadal in the final in Beijing. He now has 3 Olympic medals, silver and bronze in singles and gold in doubles that he claimed with Nicolas Massu in Athens, in 2004.

Novak Djokovic earned the bronze medal for Serbia. He went to the final at the U.S. Open last year, losing to Federer in the final. He may go all the way this year.

Posted on: February 29, 2008 3:53 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2008 10:44 pm

Andy Roddick An American Hero

Andy Roddick is a true American hero, at least in the tennis world.

The Merriam-Webster Online dictionary gives several definitions to the word hero. It can be “an illustrious warrior” or “one that shows great courage” or “the central figure in an event, period, or movement.”

If you want a more comprehensive definition you can go to m-w.com … later.

I’ll give you that Roddick may not be an illustrious warrior. Tennis is no war. But he has always defended the colors of his country with pride and courage in numerous Davis Cup ties, in a time when most tennis superstars would rather focus on their individual results.

The only other American superstar who, in recent memory, played for the U.S. with the same passion and dedication is John McEnroe. He later became captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team. His brother Patrick is now in charge of it.

"I've been extremely lucky. We've got a group of guys that love to play for their country, that love supporting each other, and that have answered the call every single time I've asked them," Patrick McEnroe said before the opening round against Austria earlier this year.

When John was captain, his main problem was to convince Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi to play for their country.

Roddick’s commitment finally paid off last December when, along with James Blake and the Bryan twins, Mike and Bob, he defeated Russia to claim the first Davis Cup for the U.S. (still the most successful country in this competition with 32 titles) since 1995.

Since 2003, when he finished the season ranked N.1 in the world, Roddick has never fallen outside of the top six in the ATP rankings.

He has won at least one tournament each year since 2001; claimed a total of 24 titles in his career, including the 2003 U.S. Open, which makes him the 3rd most successful active player behind Roger Federer (53) and Lleyton Hewitt (26) and lost three Grand Slam finals in Wimbledon twice and at the U.S. Open last year, all to Federer.

Federer is the player who took over the No.1 spot in the world rankings on February 2004 and has yet to relinquish it as of today. And Federer is exactly what stands between Roddick and tennis greatness. Roddick will be 26 in August. Agassi won his 4th Grand Slam title at 29.

Even though he might never join the ranks of Sampras, Agassi, McEnroe or Jimmy Connors at the top of U.S.tennis world, Roddick is definitely a remarkable athlete.

Who can argue now with the fact that Roddick is a central figure in the world of tennis in the first decade of the 21st century?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com